Posts tagged ‘UK’

Raps by the pound – classic from ’95

June 6, 2010 at 18:06 Leave a comment

Herma Puma «space to breathe»

May 28, 2010 at 19:59 Leave a comment

Sippin’ Phonic tonic – interview with Jon Phonics

If you’ve heard the first installment of Half Past Calm, you’ll be excited about this one. Jon Phonics has been around the block a few times since his full-length debut dropped in 2008, featuring tracks with some of the nicest UK MCs. This new album has some proper, off-the-beaten-track goodness on it as well – be sure. In the interview he talks about clocking in at the lab, playing live instruments and Guru’s death, among other things…
1. What can you tell us about yourself? What was the last thing you watched on TV?
Hey, I’m Jon Phonics, I’m 23 and I currently reside in South London. I haven’t watched anything recently, but I’m currently reading ‘Keep the Apidistra Flying’, and loving every second of it.

2. What’s your favourite spot in your city?

My fav spot to be at in London is the studio. Apart from that you might catch me in Sounds of the Universe or in the back of Plastic People smoking a zoot behind the speaker doing a 2 step.

3. Half Past Calm was a banger and got a lot of heads’ attention when it came out in 2008. What can people expect from the second one?

Thanks. The second Half Past Calm is really a continuation of the sound I came with on the first. It’s intended as an accompaniment for that late night journey home, headphone music that you can get lost in.

With these albums where I am working with various rappers I want to show the whole spectrum of what we have to offer to Hip Hop in the UK, whether that be punchline rap or creative road bars, I would say my sound has developed in a natural way. There are a few tracks on this record without samples, and I’m playing a lot more live instruments on this one, where as the first record was completely sample-based.

4. Do you see yourself as part of a new kind of hip hop movement in the UK? If so, why?

I guess so, I try not to think too much about stuff like that because I feel once you start to see things that way, you might slow up your work rate or begin to rest on your laurels. My ethic is just to keep my head down an work, and hopefully by the time I look up for a breather I might be somewhere with this shit.

The UK has a lot of dope artists right now though, some crazy producers (shouts to my Louis Den family) and all angles covered MC-wise. I think we’re in a place where people are beginning to realise their vision and everybody’s sound is falling into place, just how they want it. There are gonna be a lot of albums this year that will once again take the levels up – which, in my opinion, is definitely a positive thing.

5. What are your thoughts on Guru’s death?

Guru’s death is a true shame and the aftermath of it all, with that guy that made his records acting like that (I ain’t airing his name – but you know who I mean) just goes to show how friendships can be chewed up and spat out through the music business.

6.What are some of your favourite records? have you got any rare vinyl in your collection? Which ones?

Some of my favourite records are Marvin Gaye ‘Trouble Man’, Teena Marie’s ‘Starchild’, Cannonball Adderley and the Bossa Rio Sextet with Sergio Mendes is my SHIT.

7. Any other message you’d like to get out there? shouts?

Thanks to Beat Bungalow, big up Brixton Basement Press, YNRPapa Chemo, Louis Den and anyone supporting the album – stay tuned folks! Peace.


May 6, 2010 at 14:33 Leave a comment

All new Testament: Homecut interview

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

That is a difficult question. Musically, the soul jazz experimentation of the 1970s resonates with me and the ‘Golden age’ Hip-Hop era in the early 1990s are huge influences on how I express myself. But that’s just how it comes out. What comes out is inspired by life; God, social justice, love, frustrations, inner struggles…. Y’know, life… I just try and give an honest portrayal of what is inspiring me and hope that it inspires others.

How and when did you get into making music?

Well, I never thought I’d end up in music. Though I am grateful very I am. I started writing rhymes when I was 14 and heard the music coming from my big brother’s room. He was listening to De La Soul. “De La Soul Is Dead”  was the album, it was on an old cassette which I ended up ‘borrowing’ for a decade or so. I read an interview with Mos Def once, who said it was his favourite album of all time. Its definitely up there. A few years later I came across a little known group called Freedom of Soul from Califonia. I found the new sounds I heard really innovative, funny, moving and deep. So inspired, I started writing rhymes.

Around the the same time I started to teach myself the blues on an old piano during my lunchbreaks at school and trying to work out my own chords and stuff. So by the time I went to University I had already written the music and rhymes to two songs. There I met a musician (an actual trained musician)  and we started a live Hip-Hop band called Homecut Directive. After that finished in 2001, it just became me, Homecut. Then I begun the journey of  learning how to produce. And that’s a whole other part of making music.

What’s your favourite place in your town?

My favourite place is a club called The Hi-Fi Club in Leeds where I live. Every Sunday night they have live music. Its a great night with a real mix of people all getting down to soul/jazz type acts. Great DJs too. Lovely vibe.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

If there was no music in the world???? I’m really not sure. Something creative. Write I guess. I write (poems, short stories) a little already

What was the last record you bought?

Nu Amerykah Part 2. Erykah Badu’s last joint. I just buy everything she does. Standard. She’s one of the few big names in her genre that is still pushing the boundaries.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I’d love to work with British soul singer Omar. American singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens too. There’s also a incredible Scottish guy called John McCallum who’s on tour with Corinne Bailey Rae right now who I think has an incredible voice and great musicianship. I’m very grateful to have collabed with Corinne twice already otherwise she’d be up there too! She’s got an serious musical brain and her last album is a classic in my opinion.

What was the best gig you’ve seen (as performer or spectator)?

There’s been a few. One of the most significant for me was seeing Gil Scott-Heron in 1996 in Manchester at a very intimate venue. Its was so hypnotic. His presence was amazing.  I can remember he performed a song called “Other Side” and you could feel his struggles coming through, it was emotional.  We (the audience) felt like were battling through too. It was a spiritual experience. An overused expression, but it was for me. …Also, it was deeply funky. I was around 18 years old and after that I bought as many of his albums as I could.


April 25, 2010 at 16:53 Leave a comment

It’s a family thing…20 years of Krispy

It’s not just Christmas that’s being celebrated in a few days…

Krispy are a hip hop group from the north west of England: producer Mr Wiz and his brother Mikey D.O.N. have made a big impact on UK hip hop, especially in the early days when most of the new sounds still came from the US. They were brought up on a diet of roots reggae and dub, mainly through their father’s sound system MellowTone. Together with their homie Sonic G they formed Krispy3, got down to business and released “Coming Through Clear” in 1989.  They’ve been on the scene ever since and Mikey now hosts a show on Manchester’s Unity FM (Tuesday, 8-10pm Brit time).

In the 1990s, the Finlayson brothers traveled Europe with MC D on the ‘Kold Sweat’ tour. Mr Wiz remembers: “Katch 22 was also on tour with us and I remember being in Dortmund in Germany, roundabout 1995. The atmosphere was amazing: Mode 2 was painting graff pieces and the crowd were going crazy. It’s something I won’t ever forget.”

They released “From the Country” in 1999 which featured collabos with Roots Manuva and IG Culture. Their new album “Time Flies” is in the making…hip-hop, boy – so now ya know know…

December 22, 2009 at 14:48 Leave a comment

Woody Madera explains…the joy of decks

This time around it’s a pre-Christmas cracker: UK DJ Woody Madera is in the bungalow and explains how he got hooked on turntables. The man was a founding member of the Table Gimps crew and has been rocking shows across the globe for a while. He’s also recorded as part of One Self with DJ Vadim. He’s a wiz in the world of turntablism and his sets and routines are always experimental. to say the least.

This interview was done in Woody’s home town at Burnley Mechanics, two years after he won the UK ITF title. The occasion? A ‘Love Music, Hate Racism’ event he was playing at in support of cultural & musical diversity.

Listen to the best bits here.

November 30, 2009 at 19:12 Leave a comment

Going down in history…UK Hip Hop exhibit

flyer final-1 sq

This is right up our street: an exhibition that looks at how hip hop developed in the UK, from the beginning until now. If you’re in Manchester or visiting England, check this out at the Urbis and find out how British MCs, DJs, graff artists became independent from the US and developed their own movement. The exhibition includes contributions from vinyl veterans such as Snowboy. Among other artists featured in the exhibition are Krispy,  Rodney P & Skitz, Fallacy, DJ Woody, Benji Reid and Seek. The best thing about it: it’s absolutely free, no dollars, pounds or euros involved!!

The exhibit was put together in collaboration with hip hop writer James McNally and musician Kid Acne. A spokesman for Urbis said: “‘Home Grown’ will showcase never before seen photography from the personal collections of DJ Milo (The Wild Bunch) and DJ 279; rare film footage sourced directly from Malcolm McLaren and cult documentary director Dick Fontaine; and exclusive documentation from seminal early hip-hop clubs like Spats and the Language Lab, right through to influential latter day spots such as Deal Real record store. It also will include rare – and sometimes unique – audio, flyers, posters, clothing and unseen photographs from the private collections of artists, promoters, producers, dancers and photographers.”

Exhibition starts on October 15th and will run every day until March 2010.

October 12, 2009 at 09:52 1 comment

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